Press Availability at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Press Availability
Stephen W. Bosworth
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Seoul, , South Korea
September 13, 2010

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be back in Seoul and we have just had some very productive consultations with our South Korean partners. We are on a quick visit to the region. We go from here to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Beijing. We are not going to Moscow on this visit, but I do anticipate consulting with our Moscow, our Russian colleagues in the very near future – in Moscow or elsewhere.

My talks here today have been, as I said, very useful. We have confirmed our desire and determination to continue to work together very closely through consultation and coordination of policy. We will continue to pursue the basic strategy we have been pursuing for the last several months: one of being open to dialogue and negotiation with the North Koreans, but at the same time maintaining the sanctions which have been put in place by the U.N. Security Council and by the United States and other governments.

We have reaffirmed our fundamental goal, which remains denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We have also reaffirmed our determination to pursue the other elements of the Joint Statement of September 2005.

I would stress that we are not setting any timetables. We will move as expeditiously as possible once conditions indicate that it is - that we are able to do so. I would emphasize that we are not -the U.S. is not interested in talking just for the sake of talking with the North Koreans. We want negotiations that produce a meaningful result. So we will be looking for indication that North Korea shares that desire and that determination. And we will continue, as I said, to consult very closely with South Korea and our other partners as we move ahead.

I will take one or two questions.

QUESTION: What is the basis of your optimism for talks?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: My basic optimistic personality.

QUESTION (repeated): Basis for optimism?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH (repeating): Basis for optimism?


AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: My basis for optimism is I do not have either optimism or pessimism. We try to assess the situation as we see it. We remain committed to diplomacy as a mechanism and a vehicle for resolving these problems that are potentially destabilizing to the Korean Peninsula and the region.

QUESTION: Mr. Bosworth. You have had a very long winter in terms of Six-Party Talks [inaudible]. Can we smell an arrival of spring?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: The arrival of spring? Are the flowers blooming? [laughter] I am not going to engage in speculation as to timing. Obviously there are things that have to occur before we can find ourselves back at the negotiating table. We, I think, look forward to a process of bilateral contacts and eventually multi-lateral contacts that would hopefully result in a resumption of the Six-Party process. But there is a lot of work to do before that happens.

QUESTION: What kind of indications do you see that the South and North [sic], that South Korea and the United States are willing to engage with North Korea? You mentioned about the indications from the, by the North Koreans? What kind of indications need to occur?

AMBASSADOR BOSWORTH: I am not going to speculate and try to assess North Korea’s attitude. We look for North Korea’s attitude to be expressed through its actions, not simply through its rhetoric. So we believe that dialogue and negotiation is in the best interest of all countries concerned, and that is the course we are going to continue to follow. But at the same time, we are going to continue to implement the sanctions that have been put into place by the international community.

So, thank you all very much.